Decision on Afro hair swimming cap ban being reviewed following backlash

·1-min read
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

The decision to ban swimming caps designed for afro hair from the Olympics and other international competitions is being reviewed following a backlash.

Soul Cap attempted to have its products officially recognised by water sports world governing body FINA in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics later this month.

The British brand makes larger swim caps designed to protect thick and curly hair, dreadlocks, weaves and braids.

But the application, submitted last year, was rejected because the hats do not "follow the natural form of the head."

Young black swimmers criticised the decision and branded it "disappointing ".

Following the backlash, FINA issued a statement on Monday saying it was “reviewing the situation”.

“FINA is committed to ensuring that all aquatics athletes have access to appropriate swimwear for competition where this swimwear does not confer a competitive advantage,” the body said.

“FINA is currently reviewing the situation with regards to Soul Cap and similar products, understanding the importance of inclusivity and representation.”

Kejai Terrelonge, 17, told the BBC haircare was one of barriers she faced as a black swimmer.

She said: "Using the smaller swimming caps that everyone else would use, it would fit on my head but because I put [protective] oil in my hair, when I was swimming it would just keep sliding off and my hair would get wet.”

Soul Caps are approved for domestic swimming competitions in England.

Swim England said it is raising its "concerns" about FINA’s rejection of the hats "through the appropriate channels".

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